Between the hours of 8pm on November 27th and 3am on November 28th, Staten Island residents can open up their Uber apps and enter the promo code “SAFERIDESI19” to unlock two free rides, up to $15 each. Both rides must start and end on Staten Island.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving has noted that Thanksgiving Eve, also known as “Blackout Wednesday,” sees a spike in instances of drunk driving. It is one of the busiest drinking nights of the year and represents the beginning of the holiday season when there is a known increase in instances of impaired driving This initiative aims to ensure that all Staten Islanders have a reliable ride around their communities.
The Forest Avenue BID, the South Shore BID, and the Richmond County Bar Association have generously signed on as main sponsors of this initiative. In addition, the Staten Island Rotary Club, Li Greci’s Staaten, and The Vanderbilt have also agreed to become sponsors.
Uber has been proven to help reduce drunk driving across America. For example, DUI arrests in Seattle decreased by more than 10% after Uber started serving riders and drivers in the city, according to a recent study. A recent independent study conducted by Temple University found cities where Uber operates have 3.6%-5.6% fewer drunk driving deaths than cities without access to ridesharing.
“After our successes with this program over the past two years, I’m pleased to be able to continue the ‘SI Safe Ride Initiative.’ We don’t want a single person getting behind the wheel of a car drunk,” said Borough President Oddo. “If you plan on drinking this Thanksgiving Eve, please enjoy the night responsibly and leave your car at home. Thank you to DA McMahon, MADD, and Uber for helping us give the Staten Island community a safe, potentially life-saving option this Thanksgiving Eve.”
“When people have access to a convenient, reliable way to get home, they're able to make safer choices. We're proud to partner with Borough President Otto and DA McMahon to help encourage Staten Islanders to leave the keys at home during the Thanksgiving holiday and take a safe ride,” said DeShawn Wright, Senior Manager for Public Affairs at Uber.
“Celebrating Thanksgiving Eve is something that thousands of Staten Islanders look forward to every year, and thanks to Uber, Borough President Oddo, and all our community partners we are thrilled to bring the SAFERIDESI promotion back for a third year. On behalf of all of us, we wish you a fun, safe, and responsible evening, and remind you that while your Uber rides may be free this night, there is never any excuse to get behind the wheel or get in the car with a driver who has been drinking. We know it is hard to get around our beloved borough without a car, but becoming a victim of a drunk driver or making someone else and their family victims to your reckless actions makes that small inconvenience the only sensible choice,” said Staten Island District Attorney Michael McMahon.
“Mothers Against Drunk Driving wants you to get home safely for the holidays," said Tara Spohrer, MADD New York Program Manager. "The holiday season is one of the most dangerous times of the year because of the increased frequency of drunk driving, and we remind everyone – this holiday season and always – to plan ahead for a safe ride if their festivities include alcohol. Thank you to Borough President Oddo and District Attorney McMahon for their leadership in raising awareness around the risks of impaired driving this Thanksgiving Eve. Uber has been a proven tool to reduce drunk driving incidents and make our roads, children, and families safer and we encourage all Staten Island residents to take advantage of this partnership."
“The Forest Avenue BID is happy to be a supporter of the successful, UBER Safe Rides program. We thank UBER, BP Oddo and DA McMahon for keeping our communities safe with free rides on Wednesday, Thanksgiving Eve, as this is a very busy, and bustling time on our corridor,” said Loretta Cauldwell, Executive Director of the Forest Avenue Business Improvement District.
“We are happy to be a partner in this very important program. To quote my friend Doug Candela: ‘think before you drink,’” says Jay Duskin, Richmond County Bar Association.
In 2003, Oddo and McMahon, then City Council Members, sponsored “Operation Arrive Alive,” a similar, though low-tech initiative that relied on bartenders to call a cab for patrons who requested one. The 2019 version is different in that it allows patrons themselves to summon an Uber in the way they are accustomed to.
A report by Uber and MADD released in January 2017 concludes that when empowered with more transportation options like Uber, people are making responsible choices that result in fewer alcohol-related crashes.
Each trip has a maximum value of $15. If a ride costs more than $15, riders will receive that much as a credit and will be responsible for the remaining money due.